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The above painting was accomplished similar to the elephant I posted, recently. I drew the pelicans in graphite and then went back over the drawing by drawing with an eye dropper and ink. Unlike the elephant, I did the whole drawing in ink before lightly spritzing it with water. This is because quite a large amount of ink is applied by drawing with an eye dropper.  The effect is a little more loose and the spread of ink is large and blotchy. I think it enhances the feeling of movement. I splattered the drawing with frisket prior to painting and then with a dark watercolor once the washes were dry. I have used this technique, previously, here and here.

Information on the Great White Pelican here.


  1. Beautiful painting. I may have to try this technique when I get brave enough.

    • Thank you, Bongo! It is interesting what you can come up with with a little ink, a spray bottle, and some color. Have fun if you do try this. 🙂

  2. You amaze me, Leslie. You have so much fun with your painting.

  3. You have really captured the pelican movement.

  4. Between the splatters and the ink bleed, there’s definitely movement along with wonderful colors. Very COOL!

    • Thank you, Ryan. I keep forgetting I can use this technique to represent movement. I have wanted to paint these pelicans for some time but could not think how I wanted to paint these simple forms.

  5. This has a rather Asian feel to it, not sumi-e but … I don’t know. I really like it, particularly how both birds’ heads are turned. Even with the spritzed ink, the piece has a clean feel to it, probably because of the subdued colors. Happy to stop by and blah, blah a bit. 🙂

    • The turned heads and the shapes created by these birds was what originally pulled at me to paint these pelicans, Yousei. Thank you for that comment about the clean look even with the ink. That helps a lot. Sometimes we, as artists, fear being a little messy and aggressive and miss out on all the things we can do to enhance an image. Thank you! 🙂

  6. A very unique painting! It’s fun because you find (or know) all type of different techniques, which is, for me novice, very interesting to discover. 🙂

    • The more I paint, the more I want to try new things and apply them to what I see. Thank you for this comment! 🙂

  7. Amazing work, Leslie!

  8. I agree. This has quite an asian feel to it. Maybe it is the pelican subject. I love this and the elephant one. Since you are so far away and I can’t attend one of your classes, I’ll have to just try this as a proxy student. LOL It is quite inspiring.

    • Wouldn’t it be fun if all of us could get together and paint, Ruth? I would just like to paint alongside my fellow watercolor bloggers and soak up all I see in the imagery they create. Thank you for this comment! 🙂

  9. Beautiful. I really like the style it is very striking, the ink adds a perfect contrast.

  10. I like what you’re doing here, Leslie – esp the elephant came out very nice! Merry Christmas to you!

    • Merry Christmas to you, Frank! …and thank you for this comment. As hard as I try to just stay with watercolor, I love what happens when I add another medium to the mix or use a new paper. Sometimes I think it is more the explorer, in me, than the artist that pops through. 🙂 Thank you!

  11. Love the movement! This painting is very dynamic. Pelicans, being the amazing creatures that they are, add to this dynamics. A striking piece!

    • I don’t know much about pelicans and certainly not the Great White. We have a pair at our children’s zoo, here. I always stop and photograph them and love to watch them. When I visit the coast, I like to watch them flying low over the water and following the fishing boats in to dock. Thank you, Alex!

  12. i love the effect of the inks and splattering here…really makes these pelicans pop! awesome…

    • I was hoping that ink spray made them look actively engaged in the task of preening. Thank you, JRuth.

  13. The amount of ink spreading around needs a lot of balancing, almost like a walk on a rope, to get this precise result, hats off Leslie!

    • Thank you, so much, for this comment, Padmaja. When I do these, I have to be mindful of my lack of control, take what I get and make it work. The ink spread so quickly and I chose to brighten their beaks in response, just as you say, to balance this.

  14. Wow – this is so full of life – Brilliant

  15. Another beautiful painting, Leslie!
    I bet you have been very busy with Christmas right around the corner…I certainly am.

    I have a Christmas gift for you.

    Merry Christmas,
    Deb xx

    • Thank you, Debbie, for the comment and the gift! Merry Christmas!

  16. I love this technique. I agree with the other commenters in that it has a sort of ancient Japanese illustration feel to it – perhaps just because it is pelicans? Whatever the reason, it’s wonderful. Happy Holidays!

    • Thank you, Nicola! I also like what you are doing with watercolor and pointillism over your way. Fantastic!
      Merry Christmas!

  17. Wow Leslie another wonderful painting. Two previous comments talk about an Asian or Japanese feel. That’s what struck me at first. This reminds me of Japanese woodblock prints…maybe it is the ink that gives it that feel. It’s very expressive and graceful. Lovely!

    • I love these comments about Asian or Japanese. I did not see that, but do now that you all have mentioned it. I see what you say about the wood block prints and think it may be the ink, also. Thank you!

  18. Oh, Leslie, I am ever grateful for you and your talents. These are just lovely. They make me smile from my heart.

    Many blessings for the season of Light and all that is holy. May you and yours be healthy, happy, and a peace this Christmas and throughout 2012.

    In gratitude,

    • I stop and watch these two Great Whites everytime I visit our zoo. They seem to be great friends and strike the most interesting poses. Thank you for this, Jamie. Happy New Year!

  19. super like!

  20. This technique looks very tricky! Beautiful work.

    • I have fun with these. Oh yes, when you spritz it, the ink has a plan of its own. Thank you, Tim.

  21. This is my favourite Leslie and would look absolutely gorgeous as an illustration in a book. Sumptuous is the word that comes to mind. It must be reminding me of something from my childhood

    • Oh thank you, outsideauthority! When I did this, it was a demo for my students and several grimaced as they watched the ink fly off into the water. But!! When I pull it out to share the last couple years, everyone says they really like this one over many of the others. I think it looks like these pelicans are hard at work preening themselves. 🙂 Ha!

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